Hungry Hearts event raises $50,000 to help buy coats, winter gear for kids

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Barrel House in Sioux Falls is known for holding a number of charity events, mostly to help young kids in the community through its Hungry Hearts Foundation.

But last night, the restaurant put on an event with some of the best chefs in the country. While they served up the food, customers served up the dough.

Chef Justin Sutherland of the Twin Cities, winner of the TV show ‘Iron Chef’ and a top 15 finisher in ‘Top Chef,’ was just one of the culinary artists helping out at the Hungry Hearts fundraiser.

“First of all I love charity events especially when it’s anything to help take care of kids, so when Mark invited us down to help out with Hungry Hearts to take care of some of the community here in Sioux Falls it was kind of a no brainier for us,” Sutherland said.

This dinner, which was sold out at $400 a plate, was by invite only.

“Amazing talents we have here and we have a bourbon lineup that’s top-notch; great cause, great food, great dinner and we are going to raise some money,” owner Mark Fonder said.

Typically the Hungry Hearts Foundation helps pay for school lunches for needy students in the Sioux Falls School District.

But this year, because the district received a federal grant to feed all students for the remainder of the year, they saw another need in the community; winter coats for kids.

“With the meals being covered this year, just finding different avenues to give back and Hungry Hearts is still alive and going,” Fonder said. “Sunday, October 25th we’ve got a big coat drive giving away probably 300 to 400 coats,” Fonder said.

For chefs, like Sutherland, it’s also a chance to show off their culinary skills, who haven’t been able to do much with restrictions in place in their home states due to the pandemic.

“It’s pretty cool to just get back to what we are doing, let alone it’s for a great cause, but to get together with other chefs and the community around here to drink and eat and to get back to normal is pretty cool,” Sutherland said.

Barrel House chef Jesse Severson organized this event.

He says sometimes families don’t like asking for help; it’s hard thing for them to swallow.

That’s why a fundraiser like this he says is the right thing to do.

“If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it, they are our future leaders of our community we got to make sure they’re taken care of and the chefs united on this to come through and make sure we have a great evening,” Severson said.

The Hungry Hearts event last night was hoping to raise $25,000. We checked back with the owner Mark Fonder and he says it raised $50,000 that’ll be used to buy coats and other winter gear.

The Barrel House will be distributing coats on Sunday, October 25. For more details, click here.

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